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Name issue tops agenda of Macedonian leaders' meeting in Jasen

22. January 2011. | 07:06

Source: MIA

The meeting's attendants sheared opinions and information on current developments related to the name issue, which as Ivanov said, has been burdening Macedonia for two decades and hindering its EU, NATO membership.

 Useful meeting for sharing opinions on several issues of essential importance for Macedonia, President Gjorge Ivanov said Friday after the talks in Jasen Reserve with leaders of major parliamentary political parties - VMRO-DPMNE's Nikola Gruevski, SDSM's Branko Crvenkovski, DUI's Ali Ahmeti and ND's Imer Selmani.

The meeting, as President Ivanov told reporters, addressed Macedonia's foreign policy priorities, in particular the country's processes for accessing the European Union, NATO, the name row, recommendations of the latest European Commission Report, observance of two significant jubilees in 2011 - 20 years of the country's independence declaration, 10 years since the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and the upcoming census in April.

The meeting's attendants sheared opinions and information on current developments related to the name issue, which as Ivanov said, has been burdening Macedonia for two decades and hindering its EU, NATO membership.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski briefed the present about the talks with his Greek counterpart Geoge Papandreou, Ivanov said, adding that the state leadership would also discuss the matter and invite Ambassador Zoran Jolevski to report if there were some new moments ahead of the talks with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz and Greek negotiator Adamantios Vasilakis, scheduled for February 9 in New York.

Ivanov reiterated Macedonia's position on the name issue, namely that a solution to the matter should be sought within the frames of the United Nations and adopted resolutions.

"Any attempt to go beyond that frames, namely encroaching on our identity, the name of our language, in a way is hindering the name row settlement. Hence, we always tell Nimetz that mutually acceptable solution, one that will really lift the obstacle to the crucial processes for us, is possible only if we stick to the UN resolutions," Ivanov said.

PM Gruevski said he informed other party leaders on his meetings with Papandreou, namely that Greece has been still denying the Macedonian identity and language, giving no consent for their recognition within the UN, other institutions, and hence for opening of Macedonia's EU accession talks and NATO membership.

The Greek's position presents a serious problem, Gruevski said, pointing out that all political parties in Macedonia have same opinion on the identity issue.

He told reporters that some solution to the name issue or serious proposal was needed for calling a referendum on the matter in Macedonia.

"At the moment there is no proposal from Mr Nimetz that would have been at least acceptable for Greece, one that may be a subject of a referendum if it would be also acceptable for us," Gruevski said.

Commenting the calls for larger US engagement in settling the name row, Gruveski said he would welcome anyone willing to help. The US is already involved in a way, by offering, sharing ideas, suggestions, the PM said.

SDSM leader Crvenkovski considers that today's meeting was characterized with both positive and negative elements.

The positive aspect refers to organizing such a meeting after more than than eight months, while the negative one is the failure of this gathering to offer substance.

"Lack of basic political dialogue between the ruling and oppositions parties is impermissible for a country that has been dealing with so many problems, such as Macedonia. So in this respect I welcome this meeting. It is bad however that the meeting had no contents and fruitful talks on the matters," Crvenkovski said.

He reaffirmed the position of his party on the name issue, saying that SDSM will welcome any solution the incumbent government is going to accept under one condition - it must not bring harm to the Macedonian national identity.

DUL leader Ahmeti said the name negotiations should resume under the UN auspices.

"We have agreed on the need of larger US involvement in finding an acceptable solution for both parties," Ahmeti said.

There are no signs for the name row settlement, Selmani said, pointing out that Macedonia must join EU and NATO to keep developing. He also urged for larger US involvement in settling the matter.

Although invited DPA's leader Menduh Taci failed attend today's meeting in Jasen Reserve.


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